Turkey urges Israel to fix bilateral ties after flotilla raid
Turkey on Friday insisted on conditions set for Israel to fix the two countries' fractured relations after Israel's deadly raid on an international aid flotilla sparked diplomatic rows between the two former allies, Xinhua reported.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey's expectations for Israel to mend the bilateral ties were clear and that there was no change on Turkey's position.
"Our expectations are very rightful demands. Both Israel and our other interlocutors know these demands in detail," Davutoglu was quoted by the semi-official Anatolia news agency as telling an inauguration ceremony of the honorary consulate of Bosnia- Herzegovina in central Turkish province of Konya.
Turkish-Israeli ties took a heavy blow in the wake of Israel's deadly raid on the Turkish Mavi Marmara (Blue Marmara) aid ship, which led the Gaza-bound flotilla, on May 31.
Eight Turkish pro-Palestinian activists and one American of Turkish origin were killed when Israeli commandos stormed the ship as part of an operation to stop the ship heading for the Israeli- blockaded Gaza Strip.
Once being Israel's closest Muslim ally, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel in response to the raid. It has also cancelled joint military operations with Israel and prohibited Israeli military flights from using Turkish airspace.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan put forward four conditions for reconciliation with Israel: an apology from Israel, compensation for families of the nine victims in Israeli forces' raid, international inquiry into the incident and lifting of the Israeli embargo on Gaza.
However, Israel has clearly ruled out the possibility of apologizing for the raid and initiated an internal commission to investigate the incident rather than an international one.
In an attempt to defuse the tensions, Israeli Minister of Trade, Industry and Labor Benjamin Ben-Eliezer met with Davutoglu last week in Belgium to discuss the strained relations.
In a statement on Sunday, Davutoglu made Turkey's conditions more flexible, saying his country expected Israel to apologize or approve an international investigation.
Davutoglu made the call before the meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on Tuesday, which Turkey hoped would put pressure on Netanyahu to address the crisis.
The United States wants Israel and Turkey, whose earlier friendship had benefited U.S. policy in the Middle East, to patch up the fried ties.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that his country has no intention to apologize to Turkey.